Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hit the Derby Road

We have our first horse to make headlines as being off the Derby Trail. Steve Haskin reported in the Blood-Horse on-line that Take Control, offspring of AP Indy and Azeri - how's THAT for a pedigree, is officially off the trail due to shin issues. Take Control was a $7.7 million buy back at the September Keeneland sale as a yearling.

It's hard to imagine that in this economy and auction market that $7.7 million wasn't enough to break even. Of course it was and I'm being a bit facetious here, but I wonder what the reserve was? How much could they have valued this horse? It could take decades for the industry to recover from the past two to three years. Even as a very good horse, he wouldn't return $7.7 million over the track and as much as the breeding market has been, and continues to be, battered, it's hard to believe that he could return that much as a stallion. Once you figure in the trainer and other expenses over the period he's racing and then retired, it would take a spectacular career and then an unlikely towering rebound in the breeding market for this horse to net $7.7 million.

Then again, that could just be a claiming owner not fully appreciating the ego or potential revenue involved. When one bad step can cost you a career, it seems to me that in this environment you take the money if you're serious about selling the horse. It's not like they would have lost money on him and they still would have cleared millions. With no Classics on his resume, he'll truly need to be a once in a generation horse to earn a commanding stud fee. With fewer mares being covered as a result of the sliding sales market, it appears in the clarity of hindsight that recovering that missed opportunity cost is going to be unlikely. It was quite the gamble.

The Trail is now open. It'll be interesting to see who is standing in the gate come First Saturday in May

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